According to new research, exposure to air pollution causes a “huge” reduction in intelligence equivalent to a full year’s worth of education. This is in addition to the well-documented effects polluted air has on lung development and the respiratory system. In many cities in the UK including Bristol, people are often exposed to dangerous and illegal levels of air pollution, which is mainly down to pollution from road traffic. Bristol City Council is looking at proposals to introduce charging Clean Air Zones, which will put a levy on polluting vehicles entering the worst affected areas, which I am supportive of.
The Government’s plans to improve air quality have been found to be unlawful on three occasions due to the proposals being wholly inadequate, and more must be done to improve air quality and address this growing public health crisis. They should be introducing a new vehicle scrappage scheme to help people switch to cleaner vehicles, and be passing a new Clean Air Act to ensure legislation is up to date to adapt to combat air pollution – I will keep calling for them to do this.